Defend Our NHS – Latest News

Group SELFIE JUSTICE (3)

Launched just over an hour ago is a Crowdfund appeal to fund a Judicial Review against NHS England’s Accountable Care Organisation contract. Set out below is everything you need to know courtesy of Leaky Awards 2017 winners Defend Our NHS – Wirral.

Also note : On SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY there will be a national day of action in support of the NHS with various local activities. In WIRRAL this will involve a gathering outside ARROWE PARK HOSPITAL from 1.00pm to show DONHS solidarity with NHS staff, to alert the public to what’s happening to our health service, and to continue to #DefendOurNHS.
The next PUBLIC MEETING  will be in Birkenhead on Friday 2nd March from 7.00pm. More details soon. PLEASE put the date in your diary now.

 

Defending the NHS nationally and in Wirral

A judge has granted permission for national campaign group 999 Call for the NHS to bring a Judicial Review of NHS England’s draft Accountable Care Organisation contract. The group believe this is not only unlawful under current NHS legislation, but would threaten patient safety standards and limit the range of available treatments. The case will be held in Leeds High Court at some date after 16 February.

Wirral’s NHS campaign group Defend Our NHS support the Judicial Review; they recognise that the legal challenge affects everyone – patients, public and NHS Staff.

Kevin Donovan from Defend Our NHS urged people to support the appeal to fund the Judicial Review. He noted that, “The leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Phil Davies, says he opposes the government’s so-called ‘sustainability and transformation’ plans which are the framework for the Accountable Care Systems and Organisations. Yet, behind closed doors he has been supporting the development of the whole apparatus. The documented policy of Wirral Council – in collaboration with the local clinical commissioning group (and quoting from Council papers) – is now ‘the development of a single ‘Accountable Care System’’. Wirral Council acknowledges that, ‘The STP will operate at Cheshire and Merseyside level’.”

“Defend Our NHS members are yet to find anybody in Wirral outside of a campaign group who has heard the initials ‘STP’ or ‘ACO’ or ‘ACS’, let alone understands what they will mean for our beloved National Health Service. The issue is that Accountable Care Systems and Organisations are being planned secretively, including right here in Wirral. They are a new form of local NHS and social care organisation; the intention is to cut costs by managing demand for health and social care. This will speed up the creation of a two-tier system – where those with money will use private providers and the rest will be left with reduced health and social care services.  Protecting the NHS as a fully funded public service of comprehensive healthcare is vital for us all.”

The Judicial Review and the national campaign

999 Call for the NHS and internationally recognised public law firm Leigh Day are launching the third and final stage of their ‘crowdfund’ on 12 January, in order to cover all the costs of bringing the Judicial Review, and are appealing for £12,000. This amount, when added to existing funds donated by hundreds of generous members of the public in 2017, will cover the £37,000 cost of the Judicial Review.

The link to crowdfund is: Crowd Justice Healthcare4All Stage 3

Recognising that it is in the public interest to establish if the Accountable Care Organisation contract is lawful or not, the Judge has awarded 999 Call for the NHS a capped costs order of £25K. This limits the costs that the campaign group would have to pay NHS England, were they to lose the case.

999 Call for the NHS were originally well known as the Darlo Mums who organised a 300 mile Jarrow to London People’s March for the NHS in 2014. This culminated in a rally in Trafalgar Square attended by 20,000 people.

Jo Land, one of the original Darlo Mums who marched from Jarrow to London, said,

“In 2014, 20,000 people felt so strongly about the devastating effects of marketisation on the NHS that they joined us at the end of our 300 mile march to London to take a stand against it and spread the word.

Please join us again, in marching on the courts to challenge the Accountable Care Organisations contact.  This is a big step for us and we need your support. We believe it is vital to determine if the new contract is lawful or not. We all have to fight this together for the sake of the nation’s health and democracy.”

What is an ACO?

The Judicial Review is a direct challenge to NHS England’s introduction of a model contract for use by new local NHS and Social Care organisations, known as Accountable Care Organisations (ACO).

ACOs are based on the business model used by the USA’s Medicare/Medicaid system, which only provides state-funded “managed care” for the elderly and people who are too poor to pay for private health insurance. “Managed care” involves a variety of mechanisms used by managers of American healthcare companies to get doctors to avoid expensive forms of treatment.

In granting permission for the Judicial Review, the Judge commented that it would not consider the merits or demerits of the ACO model, but would focus on the lawfulness of the method for paying Accountable Care Organisations. 

The group say that the current lack of a legal framework for Accountable Care Organisations – and in particular the way they would be paid to provide local NHS and social care services – is simply not compatible with democratic control and oversight of the resources and future of our biggest public service. And the government has backtracked from its 2017 Manifesto promise of new legislation for this radical shake up of the NHS and social care.

The Wirral campaign

Defend Our NHS has existed for seven years. It was formed in January 2011 by a small group of people concerned about the changes to the NHS proposed by the then Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. The warnings given by the Group’s founder members (who included Margaret Greenwood, now MP for Wirral West) about the likely damage to the NHS have sadly come true.

Since 2011 the group has been active in informing the public about the growing local and national crisis in the NHS. It has a large mailing list and massive support for its Facebook page. Scores of people attend its public meetings and demonstrations.

In recent years Defend Our NHS in Wirral has:

  • Joined the junior doctors on their picket lines as they campaigned for safe conditions for patients;
  • Uncovered the hidden involvement of Richard Branson in Wirral general practice;
  • Challenged Wirral Clinical Commissioning group over its implementation of government health cuts;
  • Identified the now public crisis at Arrowe Park Hospital;
  • Supported the community campaign to re-open the Eastham Walk-In Clinic;
  • Revealed (in 2015) Wirral’s invitation to and involvement with Advocate Health Care, a US organisation well known for its ACO dealings; and now:
  • Exposed the secretive plans by the leaders of Wirral Council to defy their own party’s policy by implementing the STP/ACO.

Email: defendournhswirral@gmail.com 
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Notes 

1. 999 Call for the NHS is a grassroots, volunteer-run campaign organisation. It has been actively campaigning since 2014 to restore the NHS as a properly funded, publicly owned, managed and provided comprehensive health service that is free at the point of need for everyone with a clinical need. www.999callfornhs.org.uk

2. Defend Our NHS was established in Wirral in 2011 and is also entirely volunteer-run. It has attracted a large and active group of supporters. As well as concerned local residents its supporters now include a significant and growing number of doctors and nurses, outraged by what is being done to the NHS. Its Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

3. From 6pm on 12th January, the crowdfund will be live at: Crowd Justice Healthcare4All Stage 3

4. Campaign groups are concerned that the contract, if implemented, would threaten patient safety and force hospitals and doctors to restrict treatment, making decisions based on money not clinical judgement. They believe that this new contract is unlawful under current NHS legislation.

This is because the new ACO contract does not link payment to the number of patients treated and/or the complexity of the medical treatment they need, as required by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act,  but is based on a fixed budget for an area’s population.  This budget would be  geared to helping to meet the £22bn+ funding shortfall by 2021 that the government is imposing on the NHS in England.

5. As well as bringing this Judicial Review, 999 Call for the NHS – all unpaid volunteers – is also campaigning with other grassroots groups across England for the passage of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, the restoration of proper levels of NHS and social care funding and the protection of NHS healthcare for all – not the fragmentation and downgrade of our NHS to something resembling the USA’s Medicare.

6. A Judicial Review is a process of examining in court whether the government and/or its agencies are acting lawfully.

7. CrowdJustice is the only platform dedicated to raising funds and awareness for legal cases. CrowdJustice has established legal crowdfunding as a powerful tool for citizens to access justice and lawyers take cases that otherwise would not be heard. CrowdJustice is democratising the justice system by empowering people and communities to champion and build support for legal issues that matter to them. CrowdJustice has raised more than £4 million from over 100,000 backers to support legal action in the courts.

 

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A New Year Message from ‘Defend Our NHS’

 

999

Dear Friends,

Happy 2018!

Thank you for signing – if you have – the petition to STOP the new plans to dismantle our NHS. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs

If you haven’t, please do!

Now NHS campaigners have got together with the University of Brighton and the NHS Support Federation to bring you this short survey about NHS changes in YOUR area. The results of the petition will be sent to your local decision makers.

This is a chance for you to make your views known at a local area level at last, whether the council or NHS have asked you or not!!! (Certainly, if you live in Wirral – like many other places, the Council and CCG have been conniving in total secrecy to dismantle our NHS and implement the so-called STP, while hypocritically claiming opposition. Nobody, except those in the conspiracy and those attempting to expose it, are aware.)

A tip would be to strongly disagree with the statements which indicate some sort of cut AND that prioritise financial savings over patient care.

https://healthcheck.nhsfunding.info/survey/

Please take a few minutes to fill it in. Carl Walker from the School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton, says: “I’d be grateful if you could share as widely as possible to friends around the country. We are aiming for 10,000 people around the UK to complete it. Thanks

https://healthcheck.nhsfunding.info/survey/

And remember to share the petition, which is an important indicator of the public’s feeling towards this completely unacceptable, top-down reorganisation involving £22bn of cuts, to the NHS. ONE BILLION in Cheshire and Merseyside alone (as recommended by the infamous PWC).

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs

Here’s to a successful 2018. On 23rd December the lawyers for the campaign group 999 Call for the NHS told them that “a judge had considered our papers and those of NHS England… and granted permission for our JUDICIAL REVIEW to go ahead – some time after 16th February 2018! ”

Another good reason to sign and share this: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs

Happy New Year everyone and THANK YOU!

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

STP – Slash, Trash and Privatise

davies

‘Defend the NHS – Wirral’ and ‘999 Call For The NHS’ have contacted us to share their concerns about ‘Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships’ (STP). Of course we’re suspicious of anything with ‘Transformation’ in the title. And certainly anything touched by the dead hand of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies.

Therefore we proudly present a crash course kindly provided by the above pressure groups as to why we all need to be concerned about  STPs.

The STPs are the vehicle to ‘slash, trash and privatise’. You can find all the gory details here:http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/mad-as-hell/4593267514

The story of Wirral Council’s leader and his steps from willing participant to Damascene conversion to unconversion along the road to health and well-being (taken from published minutes inter alia).

Step 1: 9th March 2016 Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

“The Board discussion included a focus on: How the Wirral Plan and 20 Pledges related to the work of the Board; How the Plan related to the emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan; and How the Board could add value to help deliver more effective and efficient partnership working to achieve our priorities.

The Board agreed that a follow up discussion was required to understand and agree, within the Wirral Plan and emerging strategies:- Which strategies were top priorities for the Board; and Which strategies does the Board wish to; Lead; Influence; or be kept informed – included in Figure 1 of the report.

To help inform the follow up discussion, the report brought together some supporting information. This aimed to draw out the strategic linkages between the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Wirral Plan in order to help partners agree the future focus, priorities and strategic direction for the Board. 

Councillor Phil Davies cautioned against duplicating work and suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole agenda.”

Step 2: 13th July Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

“Jon Develing, Chief Officer, Wirral CCG presented the report to brief members of the Health and Well Being Board on sustainability and transformation plans for Cheshire and Mersey and how this would be informed by a local delivery services plan for Wirral….…Members welcomed the report and agreed it would be a good framework and focus for the Health and Wellbeing Board with helpful ties to the Wirral 20:20 Plan.
Resolved – That the development of the Healthy Wirral Local Delivery System Plan and the mechanism by which this will feed into the wider development of the Cheshire and Mersey STP be noted and endorsed.”

Step 3: 16th November Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

This is the day the STP was officially published. Board papers included the milestones and timetable for the Sustainability and Transformation Plans and associated operational plan. Apparently glitches on the CCG web site were disrupting further dissemination. Item 4 on the agenda was the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) and a verbal report from Graham Hodkinson, Director for Health & Care. Councillor Davies refused both to take the item and to allow any questions or comments from the audience. The exchange is available on video via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTvIQwwwUWw  about two minutes in.

Step 4: Wirral Globe 21st November

Sit down before you read this…Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies says: “we are extremely unhappy that elected members and officers have not been involved in the process of producing STPs and we will not sign up to any of the proposals until we have had an opportunity to discuss the contents of the STP and effective arrangements put in place to engage our residents.”  READERS FALL OVER IN AMAZEMENT…

Step 5: November: Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey (Wirral) statement:

”Yesterday I sat down with Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Borough Council, to discuss the Tory government’s plans for a billion pound in cuts to our local NHS. These cuts threaten the future of acute care across the whole of the Wirral. It became clear very quickly that the plans are yet another top-down set of cuts and reorganisations, imposed by the arrogant Tory government, on the Wirral, and that neither Phil nor I have had any say on the plans at all. It is wrong for the Government to act in complete defiance and without any consultation with local people, workers and their representatives. Sign our petition today at www.savewirralnhs.com to register your concerns.”

Step 6: 28th November Wirral People Overview Scrutiny Committee:

Rejected the Cheshire & Merseyside STP.

The plan was also rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Health and Wellbeing Board on 16th November, by Sefton Council on 17th November, and by the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board on 1st December. These have all been widely reported. Knowsley Council have joined the opposition.

Step 7: December 2016 full Council meeting:

 “agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Health and call on the government to withdraw these Plans immediately with a view to holding urgent discussions with key partners, including local Councils, on how good quality health and social care services can be provided going forward [sic] based on continuing to provide a National Health Service which is properly funded and free at the point of need.”  

There is no evidence that the letter was written or a reply received.

Step 8: July 2017 Phil Davies writes:

“I don’t see any sign that STPs are going away, although they have been re-badged as Five Year Forward View Delivery Plans. Locally, we have committed to integrated commissioning, and that naturally leads to the question of how the providers are going to respond.  There have been a series of workshops, led by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), to explore what our view is about accountable care on Wirral.  What has come out of that is that there are a number of options, ranging from a single ‘organisation’ through to an ‘alliance of providers’ and a couple of stops in between.  The very strong view currently expressed by the providers (and that includes the GPs) is that they do not want a single Accountable Care Organisation, so we are talking about an Accountable Care System…”

Meanwhile…

The cuts have already started – Wirral CCG ran something called a ‘consultation exercise’ late in 2016. It’s part of the STP but they don’t say that too loudly. And it asked the public for their opinions on proposals to cut a whole list of medical services. [And they’ve already been ending contracts for valuable work.]

So, rather than simple clinical decisions, the public were invited to vote in some kind of treatment beauty contest. People in other parts of the country are being asked to vote on different lists. The local NHS is becoming a postcode lottery.

Meanwhile the cuts have been happening for years because we and the NHS are being ROBBED.

Last year US drug giant Pfizer increasing the price of 100mg packs of an anti-epilepsy drug from £2.83 to £67.50.

We are being robbed by the PFI (private finance initiative) – hospitals built and then leased back to the NHS at eye-watering rates of interest, often by firms which also blacklist trade unionists.

And it’s happening close to home. Not many Wirral residents know that 20 of their local GPs are in cahoots with Richard Branson. Yes, the tax ‘avoider’ Richard Branson runs Virgin Care – and they are in a surgery near you. It’s not a huge contract BUT Branson is biding his time until the NHS collapses and he and his collaborators are asked to pick up the pieces and run a service on the cheap ‘in the community’.

We’re being robbed by accountancy firms like Price Waterhouse Cooper, brought in and paid £300,000 by the Cheshire & Merseyside STP to identify where the STP can make cuts.

Most of all we’re being robbed by the madness of running something we never used to have – an NHS market. Thousands of managers, administrators, lawyers, accountants, inspectors, regulators employed simply to oil the wheels of awarding contracts to private firms. Privatisation does NOT save money. The cost of running the NHS commissioning ‘market’ takes about 15% of the total budget.

So hospital waiting lists get longer and you can’t get an appointment with your GP despite the fantastic efforts of NHS doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff whose wages have been frozen and whose conditions get worse. Medicines previously available on free prescription now have to be bought.

Why? Not because we need to ‘save’ money. The NHS is almost the cheapest health service in the developed world.

So why the problems?

Because there have already been billions and billions of pounds worth of cuts.

Because of the robberies listed.

Because staff aren’t been recruited and trained.

But most of all because this government WANTS to destroy the NHS and force us into some US-style insurance scheme.

That’s the emergency in brief.